10-25-2008, 02:37 AM #1
OR - Leah Freeman, 15, found murdered, Coquille, 28 June 2000
I am placing this in Cold Cases because I think that's where it goes, however if it is not the right place, please feel free to move it.
Leah Freeman was 15 years old when she was murdered June 28, 2000. For five weeks they searched for Leah. Her body was located August 3, 2000. This small town of 4,000 rarely saw a murder, let alone a missing girl and murder mystery. I would have to think hard to even recall a murder the 20 years I lived there. The police department simply wasn't used to dealing with this type of crime. I didn't know Leah, I knew of her family and went to school with some of them, including her half sister. She was barely starting school when I moved away. But this case has bothered me from the beginning. Why can't they solve it? Why isn't there any justice for this girl?
From the beginning LE focused in on one person, her boyfriend. He gave conflicting statements, he had the opportunity to commit a crime, and he failed a polygraph. However even with an offer of immunity to his best friend (who partially failed his polygraph and retained counsel), they were not able to make a case. Or so it seems. Leah's mother Cory hasn't even been told the COD, just that it was “homicidal violence”. Her death certificate says "pending investigation". Very little has been released to the family. The only clues to the case can be found in the few documents they did release. From their website:
The Coos County District Attorney's office has released all documents not sealed in the Leah Freeman murder investigation.* Most of these documents consist of affidavits for search warrants, search warrants and the results of search warrants.* Those not familiar with legal documents should not confuse these affidavits with actual police reports and other similar documents.* There are undoubtedly numerous affidavits, reports and documents remaining in the Leah Freeman case that are currently sealed.
The City of Coquille Police Department declined to release any documents pertaining to the Leah Freeman case.* The fact that CPD did not release any documents is an indication that the case is still being actively investigated and CPD does not want to compromise any portion of that investigation.
Seven years ago the family retained the services of a private investigator.* The findings of the private investigation were independent of any law enforcement investigation into the matter.
Since the private investigator's report does contain information which is not contained in any of the documents released thus far by the District Attorney's office, it has been decided not to publish the report on this website.* It could be counter productive to publish information on this website which could compromise or hinder any on-going investigation being conducted by law enforcement personnel.
This is what Leah's family has received so far:
The community has been divided over Leah. Many people feel LE did a horrible job and botched the investigation, thus they have nothing to go on and have to wait for someone to confess. Others feel supportive of LE and think they are still doing the best they can and working on the case. A new Chief of Police has given Leah's mother some hope, since the relationship between Cory and the previous Chief wasn't productive. Also many are supportive of the boyfriend and his family, they are a “nice” family and he would never do anything like this. We all know “nice” people do bad things all the time.
According to this blog, www.mgx.com , a cold case investigator was interested but turned away by the DA. Granted his interest came when he was trying to become the new police chief, and all he saw were very limited documents (probably just what I have posted already), but all fresh eyes are good eyes, in my opinion. Here is a link to the post and others about Leah:
Cold case investigator gets a cold shoulder
July 9th, 2008 · 20 Comments
Readers of this blog may know that an applicant for the position of new police chief took an interest in the Leah Freeman case. After reviewing the only case files available to the public the seasoned investigator came to these cursory conclusions…
Personally I have always felt the boyfriend was involved at the minimum. More than likely he killed her and disposed of her body to try and cover it up, possibly as an abduction. There is way too much pointing in that direction and very little pointing away. This town just didn't have random strangers roaming though killing girls and dumping bodies in rural ravines.
Any thoughts you have are appreciated. I don't believe this case is unsolvable, but it is becoming more and more likely that until the DA will let go and someone reinvestigates, Leah's murder will not be prosecuted.
Last edited by Kimster; 07-20-2011 at 01:06 AM. Reason: added prefix
10-25-2008, 09:33 PM #2
Time line of Leah Freeman disappearance/murder, all times are approximate. Info taken from documents available on leahfreeman.com, including search warrants and their results:
LF-victim Leah Freeman, she was wearing a white “wifebeater” t-shirt, jeans, Nike shoes
BB-boyfriend's best friend
TM-local resident who finds evidence
SN-high school teacher
Afternoon hours of 6/28/00-
NM and LF spent time at LF's home located at 1173 Knott Street, Coquille, OR 97423 cleaning NM's car. Car is a '67 blue Mustang
LF/NM leave to pick up BB, then to NM's home at 56246 Baker Road for videos
They travel to BB's grandparents home at 2008 North Fir to watch the videos
NM/BB leave to pick up food, they come back and they eat (in one affidavit it seems BB's girlfriend was also at the home)
NM takes LF to SM's home 444 ½ Elm Street
3 male friends report meeting with NM and smoking marijuana at Johnson Mill Pond. He was driving the blue Mustang. (Note: Later in the evening they saw him again driving a maroon Thunderbird.)
LF wants to go jogging with SM, SM's mother denies request and there is a shouting match between mother/daughter
LF leaves SM's home alone on foot, assumption is she is walking back to her home on Knott Street
NM shows up at SM's to pick her up and learns LF has left. He drives up Central to Knott and back again looking for LF, continues to drive around looking for her.
LF seen by a witness passing McKay's Market on Central
LF seen by 2 witnesses passing Hunter's Restaurant on Central, north of McKay's
LF seen by witness passing Oregon Federal Credit Union, north of Hunter's
NM shows up at Denny's Pizza to ask DF if she has seen LF
2 witnesses see NM at Fast Mart on Central in maroon Thunderbird
NM goes back to SM's and they call LF's home, she is not there
NM stopped by LE (local PD) in blue Mustang
NM picks up BB and they drive around looking for LF, drops BB off around 2:30am
NM shows up at Denny's Pizza again, talks with DF, says something about having “someone” in the car and having to go. (Note: NM did not mention this stop at Denny's to the police, DF did)
TM finds Nike shoe off Elm Street and picks it up thinking it might belong to one of his children or other neighborhood children (Note: this is different section of Elm, close to BB's grandparents on the other side of town)
early morning hours of 6/29-
NM stopped by LE (local PD) in blue Mustang
NM goes to LF's home, sees a light in her room and attempts to contact her through the window. No response so he goes home
Morning of 6/29-
CC contacts NM, says LF hasn't come home and they go looking for her along Central
LE (local PD) goes to BB's grandparent's home, no one is there. On the deck they see a white men's sleeveless t-shirt as well as beer cans. They do not collect the shirt.
LE realizes later LF was wearing a men's t-shirt (“wifebeater”) and return to BB's grandparent's home. The deck area has been cleaned and the shirt is gone.
NM provides LE with a picture of LF taken on 6/28
SN interviewed, indicates there appeared to be abuse in NM/LF's relationship, on occasion LF would hit NM and he would strike back, NM has a “flash temper”.
TM comes to LE (local PD) with the shoe, realizing it might be connected to LF's disappearance
LE (Sheriff's Department) finds another Nike shoe in rural area known as Hudson Ridge, near Fairview
NM fails polygraph
Search warrant executed on blue Mustang.
Items seized were vacuum sweepings and duct tape end, ¾ inch piece. One roll of film and a partial roll of photos were also taken by the crime lab.
Grand Jury convened, 14 witnesses testify
BB partially fails polygraph, immunity offered by DA's office
Search warrant executed on NM's home and his person.
Items seized included mouth swabs, head/pubic hair, 1 roll 35 MM film, red Thunderbird (belongs to his parents), white sock w/ stain, 9 rolls of exposed film, purple women's sweatshirt, 1 package of photos dated 7/1/00, documents/notes/letters, pipes, bongs, marijuana, film canister w/ white powder, miscellaneous drug paraphernalia, marijuana seeds, broken light bulb, modified smoking device, high school annual (yearbook). Tested but not taken, Easton and Louisville Slugger baseball bats.
Search warrant executed at BB's grandparent's. Items seized included sheepskin with stain and red/white quilt
LF's body located near milepost 1.5 Lee Valley Road, down an embankment
Grand Jury where NM and BB were to testify called off after LF's body found.
Last edited by chicagofa13; 10-26-2008 at 02:53 AM. Reason: typos
10-26-2008, 02:30 AM #3
Several times I used 444 Elm (SM's house) as a jumping off point since there was some traffic to/from there.
As you will see, this is a SMALL town and everything is very close together, where LF started to walk and was last seen near Hunter's/Oregon Federal Credit Union, as well as the businesses mentioned by witnesses where NM was seen (Denny's Pizza and Fast Mart). NM maintains he and BB were "driving around" looking for LF up and down Central Blvd.
SM's house at 444 Elm to LF's house, 1173 N Knott This is the route LF was supposedly taking, and the route NM "searched" for LF
SM's to BB's grandparent's home, 2008 N Fir (turns into and also called Dean Minard Road).
North Elm off West Central, where one of LF's Nike shoes was found, this is on the route to/from BB's grandparents home.
BB's to NM's home, 56246 Baker Road
SM's to McKay's Market and Hunter's Restaurant on North Central (used an approx address for Hunter's since I think the name has changed). This was where LF was last seen alive by witnesses. Fast Mart, where NM is seen in the maroon Thunderbird later on, is between McKay's and Hunter's on the same side of the street.
North Central to Lee Valley Road where LF's body was found (they say Milepost 1.5 so this is an estimate, by mapquest it is 1.4 miles down LVR)
SM's to Denny's Pizza, where DF says NM came in twice to speak with her.
Last edited by chicagofa13; 10-26-2008 at 02:42 AM. Reason: typos of course
10-26-2008, 03:22 AM #4
Info found in the affidavits and search warrants:
BB-boyfriend's best friend
-All four witnesses that saw LF on Central knew who she was by sight. The witness who saw her by McKay's said she appeared to be angry or upset and walked with her head down and arms folded.
-NM says from 7-9 he drove around town, went back to BB's on Fir St, stopped at Fast Mart, then went to pick up LF at SM's. We know this is not all true because three males reported smoking pot with him at Johnson Mill Pond.
-Police Chief was concerned by a few things in NM's version. That he claimed to be driving up and down looking for LF at the same time other witnesses had seen her, so why didn't he see her too? And up until 2:30 am he didn't physically go to LF's home to see if she was there, even though he had to be close by several times. Also that he never mentioned going to Denny's Pizza to speak with LF's sister.
-LF had an appointment with the county Health Department on 6/30, which she obviously didn't keep. (Her mother believes the appt may have been on 6/29, not 6/30.)
-Due to the inconsistencies they offered NM a polygraph and he agreed. The Oregon State Police administered it. The 3 pertinent questions were:
Did you physically do something that resulted in Leah's death?
Did you have any direct involvement in Leah's disappearance?
Have you talked to Leah since last Wednesday night at 9pm?
NM answered "no" to all questions. The OSP examiner's opinion is that he was not being truthful. He had been cooperative and non-confrontational up to this point in all aspects of the investigation and polygraph. After being told he failed, his attitude changed and he became angry. Saying something to the effect of "The polygraph is not evidence. You don't have ****". He left the interview.
-The trunk of NM's Mustang was empty. No liner, jack, tire iron or spare. NM's father told LE that the items were removed because the car needed repair. Repair/replacement of a right rear quarter panel was noted, as well as a possible leak in the gas tank.
-Blood was found on the sole of the left shoe. This is the Nike shoe that was located on Hudson's Ridge in a rural area. The blood spatter was consistent with medium to high velocity blood spatter. Sent to lab for DNA testing, along with tooth brush and hair brush belonging to LF. DF verified the shoes belonged to LF.
-BB took a polygraph the same day as NM. He passed when questioned whether he had anything to do with LF's disappearance. However the OSP examiner believed the test indicated he had some knowledge of what happened to LF.
After being confronted he retained counsel. He agreed to talk again to investigators with counsel, and to take another polygraph. He denied each time that he had any idea what happened to LF.
One question on the second polygraph was, "Has anyone told you they are responsible for Leah's disappearance?" and another, "Are you withholding critical information regarding the disappearance of Leah?" BB answered "no" to both. OSP examiner believes he was deceptive with both answers. He continued to maintain he had no knowledge of LF's disappearance. This led to an immunity agreement being offered to BB from the DA's office.
According to this website's articles, http://missing87975.yuku.com/forum/viewtopic/id/2838 , BB (and possibly NM, it is unclear, LF's mother thinks it was only BB) was to go in front of a grand jury but LF's body was located and it was cancelled.
Last edited by chicagofa13; 10-26-2008 at 11:21 PM. Reason: clarification
10-27-2008, 12:40 AM #5
Leah's body located:
6 months later:
One year later:
4 years later:
7 years later:
Link to archived media:
10-30-2008, 12:01 AM #6
Today is Leah's birthday. I've been in touch with her Mother by email over the last week. She looked through everything I've written so far making sure it was accurate and graciously answered many questions. She's given me permission to post some of her thoughts and opinions. Everything here is just opinion, there has never been a suspect or POI named in this case.
No one in Leah's immediate or extended family was ever suspected of any involvement in her disappearance or murder. There were no tips that she knows of about a stranger in the area.
She believes Leah may have been hit by a car. There were rumors around town that she was held and tortured for weeks but never really believed that, and "hopes" she died that night and in that case was placed over the embankment on Lee Valley Road that night or early that morning.
While searching the next morning, she didn't notice the boyfriend acting strange, but she wasn't really focusing on his behavior.
As she recalls the damage to his car on the rear quarter panel was there previously. She thinks his headlight was also out, which may be why he was stopped by police twice. The contents of the trunk are still unknown, the family said it was to do repairs to the car, including the gas tank. The FBI told her in their opinion there was no reason to be in the trunk to repair the gas tank.
The "authority figures" referred to by LE in the media may have been school counselors. These people were supposedly hindering the investigation by advising kids not to speak to police. It is possible there are adults covering up for kids in this case and know what happened, or at least know who is responsible.
Leah admitted to having tried cigarettes, her mother guesses she probably had tried pot, but she doesn't think it went any further than that.
The relationship between the family and local LE has improved with the new Police Chief. She thinks the lockdown on info about the case comes from higher up, probably the DA's office. Unfortunately this is a case that may only be solved when someone gets a conscience.
Now for some of my opinions...
The local PD was in way over its head in the early days. When her body was found 5 weeks after she went missing the major crimes team was activated, they needed MAJOR help in the first couple days. The FBI came in since there was a missing juvenile, but I get the distinct feeling there was animosity about them being there (and I have no idea when they showed up to assist). Typical cop mentality, locals vs. Feds. The local detective was on his first case as the "lead", a rookie was assisting him.
The timeline is very hard to pin down. My mind goes in circles.
He's been smoking pot (maybe even other drugs involved), possibly drinking too (beer cans at the Fir St house), and he sees her and picks her up while she is walking, they have a fight of some type, she's killed ("homicidal violence" could be anything???) and then he panics and doesn't know what to do with the body.
Car accident? He sees her, she won't get in the car or he's simply goofing off, he hits her with the car and injures her badly or kills her. But this doesn't really fit with "homicidal violence" and blood spatter on one or both shoes. The shoe is found about 1130pm so we can assume she is dead or injured by that time. (Not to mention the white men's t-shirt she was wearing all day is PROBABLY the same white shirt seen by the cops the next day at the Fir St house, but they fail to collect it as evidence.)
Now he's driving a car with a broken headlight, and can't afford to be pulled over, but he is. The body could have been in the trunk. Hate to think the cops let that one by, but how would they know. I think the body was moved to its final location in the 1130p-230a time period. No one mentions seeing them around town during that period. Prior to that he seemed to take time to be seen, by Leah's friend, her sister, and others. Driving two different cars.
The car switching is really baffling me. Goes back to his house, maybe his clothes are bloody so he changes clothes (?), takes out the other car and back to town to "search" and create a plan? So he has the other car, now why go back and switch again? Was the body up at his house still in the Mustang? Or was the body over at the friend's house? For some reason he wanted to get rid of the Mustang, even if just for a little while. By 1030p he is back in the Mustang. It is a very short time frame with a lot going on.
Another scenario, she somehow avoids being seen walking along Central. I find this unlikely, since it's pretty hard to hide when you are walking along this sidewalk (I've walked it many times myself). So she makes it over to the Fir St house where they were partying. Now she's over there and he really IS looking for her around town. When he finds her, something happens, he is very angry, fight ensues, she's killed. Now he has to hide the body.
So if it's not him, then WHO IS IT? There are zero other leads that anyone is aware of. After all these years there are no whispers in town of anyone else doing it. Local or outsider. If you want the killer to be found, do you hire a big out-of-town defense attorney? Not assist in trying to find her? Clearly he is innocent until proven guilty, and rumors are hurtful. HOWEVER, clearing your name is the best way to be found innocent of a crime.
I see there are a lot of views to this story, thank you. Leah's mom appreciated the work I did and is glad someone is trying to help out. Really just want justice for her, no matter who did it. I'm open to someone else being the killer. Just have to find him/her.
10-30-2008, 09:19 AM #7Registered Lurker
- Join Date
- Aug 2003
Why would the grand jury appearance be cancelled because of finding Leah's body? I don't really understand that. That actually should be more reason to go infront of the Grand Jury, wouldn't it? At that point they declared it a homicide, so following through with the Grand Jury would only make sense.
This is terribly sad and it seems as if LE has put it on the back burner. I can only try to imagine how frustrating that must be for her loved ones.
Okay, I have to go back and read some more of the links. I haven't read all of them yet.
10-30-2008, 09:58 PM #8
10-30-2008, 11:01 PM #9
I will say that LE is beginning to show much more interest in the case - since we now have the new Chief. At least they show up at the candle light vigils I (and some friends) hold on her DOD and September 25th which is National Day of Remembrance for Murder Victims now. AND tomorrow is Halloween and we are holding a carnival and haunted house at our community center here in town and the proceeds from that will go to the Leah Freeman Memorial Scholarship Award. We had the scholarship for 6 years until the funds ran out and LE is willing to do the haunted house part for us, so that's nice for a change!
10-31-2008, 12:18 AM #10
Hi Cory, nice to see you here.
10-31-2008, 12:44 AM #11
12-25-2008, 05:13 PM #12
Bump for Christmas. May Leah's murderer(s) get a guilty conscious in their stocking along with their lumps of coal.
12-29-2008, 03:25 AM #13Former Member
- Join Date
- Sep 2008
WOW! I had never even heard of this case before! It has HINKY written all over it! Cory, has your family considered getting the local media involved again? And they called off the GJ when her body was found? WHAT? That is just NUTS!
12-29-2008, 06:36 PM #14
12-30-2008, 03:14 AM #15
Yeah we get the local media involved every chance we get. It's really hard to do with nothing new going on in her case which is now 8 1/2 years old. I'm under the impression LE has an idea what happened but IMO nothing was done right in this case from the very beginning.....lost, contaminate, destroyed evidence. Chicagofa13 pretty much hit the nail on the head. I tried for so many years to get her case on the National attention level but to no avail. To this day there are so many questions in my head as to what went wrong........and most importantly how Leah died. I truly do not know her cause of death. Death certificate says "pending investigation". But yet we know it was of homicidal violence. I hold candle light vigils on her DOD, National Day of Rememberance, and whenever I get a chance just to keep her name out there in the public eye so she is not forgotten. Thanks for your interest in her case. Nice to know people still care. We miss Leah so much. All we can do is continue to fight for justice for her. Comments like yours help me realize she is not forgotten and people care. Thank you. God Bless.
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